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Hundreds of companies cautioned about unsubstantiated health-product claims

Posted 28 April 2023

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sent notices to approximately 670 marketers of over-the-counter drugs, homeopathic products, dietary supplements, and functional foods. The notices indicated that they did not reflect any assessment as to whether the recipients have engaged in deceptive or unfair conduct. However, they warned that the recipients should avoid deceiving consumers with advertisements that make unsubstantiated product claims and said that the FTC will not hesitate to use its authority to hand violators large civil penalties. The notices refer to the FTC staff’s recently issued “Health Products Compliance Guidance.”
Reference: FTC warns almost 700 marketing companies that they could face civil penalties if they can’t back up their product claims. FTC press release, April 13, 2023

The notices outline specific unlawful acts and practices, including:

  • failing to have a reasonable basis consisting of competent and reliable evidence for objective product claims
  • failing
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Experts spotlight liver injury from herbal dietary supplements in the U.S

Posted 19 April 2023

Experts on natural products and toxicology have provided an overview of the problem of liver damage due to herbal dietary supplement (HDS) use in the United States. They suggest two strategies they hope will improve consumer safety and drive bad actors from the marketplace. One is a path for pre-clinical assessment and the other is the establishment of a list of products.
Reference: Gurley BJ, and others. Hepatoxicity due to herbal dietary supplements: Past, present, and the future. Food and Chemical Toxicology 169:113445, 2022

Their key points include:

  • The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 provides an insufficient framework for regulating HDS products.
  • 20% of adult Americans regularly consume HDS products.
  • Liver toxicity is among the most frequent serious events reported through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Adverse Event Reporting System.
  • 20% of all drug-induced
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Natural supplements can be dangerously contaminated, or not even have the specified ingredients

Posted 15 February 2020

February 15, 2020 12.23am SAST

The Conversation

C. Michael White

Professor and Head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Connecticut

More than two-thirds of Americans take dietary supplements. The vast majority of consumers – 84% – are confident the products are safe and effective.

They should not be so trusting.

I’m a professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Connecticut. As described in my new article in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, consumers take real risks if they use diet supplements not independently verified by reputable outside labs.

What are the risks?

Heavy metals, which are known to cause cancer, dementia and brittle bones, contaminate many diet supplements. One study of 121 products revealed 5% of them surpassed the safe daily consumption limit for arsenic. Two percent had excess lead, cadmium and aluminum; and 1% had too much mercury. In June 2019, Read the rest

EU supplement law ‘among world’s strictest,’ as study finds two thirds adulterated

Posted 15 August 2019

An industry group declares the EU legal framework for food supplements ‘among the strictest in the world,’ in response to a study that finds almost two-thirds of supplements contain pharmacological active substances or plant toxins… Read

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The GP Show podcast – Supplements

The GP Show podcast

16 December at 17:01 · 

This photo is from a patient who came to see me during the week. They walked in and said “I am here for antidepressants”. I asked why. They said one month ago they saw a natural therapy practitioner. The natural therapy practitioner did a skim history, but ordered a raft of private lab gut and heavy metal testing and put them on all these supplements. The cost? $2000. Eventually thousands more $ over a month. The patient used their savings. The supplements caused a wide range of side effects. And ironically little attention was paid to their diet, weight, social support, movement or anything else lifestyle related. They now had quite severe reactive depression as a result, along with who-knows-what other supplement side effects that were interacting, and had lost much of their savings. The patient had a printed out book … Read the rest

What dangers lurk in your diet supplements?

Posted 25 October 2018

PRETORIA NEWS / 24 October 2018 / Georgina Crouth

Between 1865 and 1906, the US experienced a “golden age” of quackery, which saw over 50000 patent medicines on the market.

Toothache was treated with cocaine (which also helped for brainpower, endurance and “throat troubles”); fussy babies were calmed with opiates; paleness ameliorated with “pink pills”, freckles were removed with mercury; and “women’s ailments” were relieved with a punchy mix of cannabis and chloroform.

Drugs were bought and sold like any other consumer goods. These often contained dangerous, addictive and misidentified ingredients.

There was no legal or ethical requirement to disclose the contents, nor to list warnings about misuse.

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Worshiping the False Idols of Wellness

Posted 22 October 2018

Charcoal, “toxins” and other forms of nonsense are the backbone of the wellness-industrial complex.

By Jen Gunter New York Times 

Before we go further, I’d like to clear something up: Wellness is not the same as medicine.

Medicine is the science of reducing death and disease, and increasing long and healthy lives.

Wellness used to mean a blend of health and happiness. Something that made you feel good or brought joy and was not medically harmful — perhaps a massage or a walk along the beach. But it has become a false antidote to the fear of modern life and death.

The wellness industry takes medical terminology, such as “inflammation” or “free radicals,” and levigates itto the point of incomprehension. The resulting product is a D.I.Y. medicine for longevity that comes with a confidence that science can only aspire to achieve.

Let’s take

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Fish oil supplementation not supported in new meta-analysis

Posted 27 June 2018

A meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials involving 77,917 individuals found no evidence that a mean of 4.4 years of supplementation with marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids was effective in preventing fatal or nonfatal coronary heart disease, strokes, or the need for procedures to restore circulation. The supplementation was also ineffective in preventing these cardiovascular outcomes in subgroups of individuals at elevated risk.

Reference: Aung T. Associations of omega-3 fatty acid supplement use with cardiovascular disease risks. JAMA Cardiology 3:225-234, 2018

The findings do not support the conclusion of a 2017 science advisory from the American Heart Association which suggested that fish oil supplementation is reasonable treatment for people with coronary heart disease but was based on only one trial of patients with heart failure. Both the 2017 science advisory and the new meta-analysis agreed that there is no evidence of benefit from fish oil supplementation Read the rest

Female libido booster Addyi shows up in supplements

Posted 26 April 2017

Following in the footsteps of Viagra, female libido booster Addyi shows up in supplements

By Megan Thielking @meggophone April 19, 2017

Following in the footsteps of Viagra, female libido booster Addyi shows up in supplements

Following in the footsteps of its predecessor Viagra, the female libido drug Addyi has snuck into over-the-counter supplements that tout their ability to “naturally” enhance sexual desire.

The Food and Drug Administration announced a recall Wednesday of two supplements marketed to boost women’s sex drive. The supplements Zrect and LabidaMAX – both manufactured by Organic Herbal Supply – actually contained flibanserin, a medication approved by the FDA in late 2015 to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women. It’s the first time federal officials have recalled a product contaminated with the drug.

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Studies Show Little Benefit in Supplements Personal Health

Posted 17 November 2016

This article by Jane E. Brody, published in the New York Times, points out that Americans “spend more than $30 billion a year on dietary supplements – vitamins, minerals and herbal products, among others – many of which are unnecessary or of doubtful benefit to those taking them. That comes to about $100 a year for every man, woman and child for substances that are often of questionable value”.

[quote]In an  editorial entitled “The Supplement Paradox: Negligible Benefits, Robust Consumption” accompanying the new report, Dr. Pieter A. Cohen, of Cambridge Health Alliance and Somerville Hospital Primary Care in Massachusetts, pointed out that “supplements are essential to treat vitamin and mineral deficiencies” and that certain combinations of nutrients can help some medical conditions, like age-related macular degeneration. He added, however, “for the majority of adults, supplements likely provide little, if any, benefit.”[/quote]

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